News in Brief

EPA deputy administrator supports UC Irvine’s green projects

UC Irvine’s zero waste and food recovery efforts were honored by United States Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administration Bob Perciasepe on Friday, Sept. 27, when he came to the campus to share a zero-waste meal with students and commend the university on its sustainability efforts.

“UC Irvine is doing fantastic work as a participant in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. It provides a great example for universities across the nation,”  Perciasepe said.

EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge asks organizations to reduce food waste through food waste prevention, donation, composting or anaerobic digestion, as food waste is the single largest material sent to landfills. Food waste is a problem because it decomposes and becomes a source of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. By limiting food waste sent to landfills, the EPA hopes to reduce methane emissions.

Since the university joined the challenge, it has increased its food waste diversion from 90 tons in 2010 to 500 tons in 2012. In other words, over the span of just two years, 410 more tons of food was averted from becoming waste in landfills, and instead became, as described by an EPA press release, “a Waste Management proprietary organic bio-slurry that has a number of sustainability applications, including the creation of green energy.”

This conversion from waste to bio-slurry was made possible in 2010 when Waste Management of Orange County opened its food waste and organics recycling plant and named UCI as a pilot-phase partner. In partnership with UCI’s Facilities Management recycle team and Aramark Campus Dining Services, Waste Management has helped the university lessen food waste.

In addition, UCI’s zero waste program diverts 83 percent of the campus’s total waste from landfills through recycling, reusing and composting efforts. These efforts, supported by UC Irvine’s Green Initiative Fund, include the addition of labeled lids to Ring Mall’s recycling bins, hydration stations around campus that promote refillable water bottle use and having nearly 90 percent of campus events with more than 2,000 participants classified as zero-waste events, among others.

“Through all of these projects and more, we are reducing the amount of waste we produce on campus and are recycling or composting materials that otherwise would have ended up in a local landfill,”  Anne Krieghoff, UCI’s sustainability manager for solid waste and recycling program, said. “This summer, the California Resource Recovery Association honored UC Irvine with its 2013 Zero Waste Achievement Award. This recognition by the EPA is equally gratifying.”

       Missing Girl NIB

UC Irvine administrators went on high alert and issued the first zotAlert of the school year in an effort to find a missing student during Welcome Week.

First year Maria Hernandez, a resident of Mesa Court housing, went missing temporarily on Tuesday Sept. 24. Campus administration issued a zotAlert, UCI’s emergency notification system that sends recipients information of crises through text messages.  Campus administrators informed the campus of her missing status at 12:47 p.m. through zotAlert. It is unknown how she became lost or how long she was gone before the zotAlert was issued. Another zotAlert was issued later at 1:28 p.m. with more information on what she was wearing.

UCI police, campus administration and Hernandez herself were unavailable for questioning and the details of what happened are currently unknown.

Hernandez was found several hours later and zotAlert informed the student body of finding her at 4:48 p.m.

Future zotAlerts will inform the student body of any potential emergencies and all students are encouraged to sign up for the alerts. Students can receive these messages by entering their mobile phone number in the Contact Information section of Student Access.